“Nimble is for girls like this: at their best in bikinis. Fit and slim, nimble and neat.”
Launched in Britain in 1955 and marketed as “diet bread” – with the slogan “Real Bread . . . but lighter” – Nimble contained less starch and fewer calories than ordinary bread.
Newspaper advertisements in the 1950s claimed you could eat “as many slices of Nimble as you eat of your usual bread, yet you’ll feel alert, on your toes”.
Originally priced at 7d a loaf, White Nimble came in a red, white and blue wrapper, while Brown Nimble was in a red, white and brown wrapper.
A competing brand of low-calorie bread – Slimcea – was introduced in 1959 by Procea Products, which became part of Cavenham Foods in 1965.
During the 1970s, Nimble – which was produced by Rank Hovis McDougall – apparently became much loved by the hot-air ballooning fraternity – or so their advertising campaign would have you believe.
TV commercials from 1968 onwards featured model Emily Jones (nee Cummings) secured to a red and white Nimble balloon floating through the air to the strains of I Can’t Let Maggie Go by Honeybus.
A new TV advertising campaign was launched in 1995. For the sake of nostalgia, the famous balloon appeared only in an animated form at the end of the advert. South African model Karen Woods appeared as a mere silhouette in the new commercials.
The Nimble brand was relaunched in 2006 but has fallen under the umbrella of Hovis since 2009 and is branded as “Hovis Nimble”.